For some people, the ability to speak more than one language is almost taken for granted. For others, the desire to learn a foreign language is something that teases and taunts them throughout their lives.
I believe that too much emphasis is placed on thinking that certain individuals are “gifted” when it comes to language learning. On the same note, I also believe that too many who learn a foreign language are not credited for the effort they put in.
Language learning requires:
- a language plan
- a big dose of confidence!
I have been lucky to grow up learning languages. Maybe not as many as I may have liked. I am intrigued by people who speak exotic languages, rather than my run of the mill English, Spanish and French. However, my language acquisition was a result of my education, travels and family life.
Born in England, I am fortunate to have English as my mother tongue. At school, I studied basic French and German and went on to study French at A level. I then went on to study a Degree in European Business, 2 years of which was spent in France.
Despite a half hearted attempt at Spanish O’ level, my knowledge of Spanish has been self-taught. Over twenty years in Spain has provided me with one of the best classrooms anybody can hope for.
One of our main reasons for choosing to live in Spain was the gift we could offer our children.
The gift of a second language.
I am proud to say that I am mother to two beautiful bilingual children.
Would I say that my children are “gifted” regarding language learning?
No, I wouldn’t.
Would I say it is easy bringing up bilingual children?
No, I wouldn’t.
Would I say I regret doing it?
Would I encourage anyone to try it?
Now I must confess. I have, up to this point, taken my language learning for granted. I grew up being told that I had a “gift for languages”. I´m not saying it was easy. I simply soldiered on and continued to learn. I let nothing stand in my way.
Some day soon:
- I will share my personal learning experiences with you
- I will tell you how I think attitude towards language learning needs to change
- I will share some practical guidance from Rita Rosenback’s book “Bringing up a Bilingual Child”
- I will explain the idea and aspirations behind our Cooking With Languages project
Before I go, I have something wonderful to share with you. I am fortunate to be a member of two inspirational Facebook Groups :
I am fortunate to be a member of two inspirational Facebook Groups :
I asked members of these groups to complete this statement:
“Living in a country and not speaking the language, is like …”
Here are some of the many answers provided by members of those groups and other friends:
It is clear to see, for those of us lucky to be involved in a world of languages, in whatever shape or form, as a parent, as an educator, we all feel that by not learning languages we are missing out on so many wonderful experiences.
- opens doors to new worlds,
- increases opportunities of adventure
- creates passion.
It’s never too soon nor too late to start learning a language!
Finally, I think this quote from Jennifer Brunk of Spanish Playground, creates a beautiful picture of where you can be once you take that first step towards learning a new language:
.. it’s like being at the bottom of a huge mountain where every tiny step you take gives you a better view.
So, come on, what are you waiting for? A new world is waiting to be discovered … by YOU !